Last month, we judged our second-annual Sunset International Wine Competition, which involved 49 judges tasting nearly 3,000 wines over the course of two days—and mind-boggling logistics behind the scenes (washing and re-washing 4,000 glasses, pouring just the right wine into each one of them every time … ). But get a group of wine pros like that in one room, and it’s not all serious business; entertainment is bound to break out.
What’s up with Moscato?! Sales of the slightly sweet (usually), sometimes fizzy wine were up more than 30 percent last year, and that’s above and beyond the whopping 75 percent or so increase the year before. There’s little mystery about who’s drinking it and why: With hip-hop artists trading in their deep-pocket Cristal Champagne for this highly affordable quaff, and writing it into rap lyrics, millennial drinkers are piling on. And my daughter, Audrey, is with them.
Until recently in the agave-based spirit world, mezcal’s had a reputation as the rustic, rough-and-tumble cousin of the more sophisticated tequila (that worm in the bottom of some bottles didn’t help). But maybe we were drinking the wrong mezcals.
Note to self: Drink outside California more often. With Sunset headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s too easy to just revel in NorCal wines. So this week, I reminded myself why that would mean missing great stuff, by tasting from the Northwest—specifically, bottles from Washington’s Yakima Valley.